Tagged with 'BC Wine'

My Wine Journey

I started to have an interest in wine while I was working for the travel industry in Japan. I’ve been in love with Canada since I first visited this country as an English school student. I kept coming back, getting to know more and more about this beautiful country. The more I learned, the more I craved to learn more. I did not really know Canadian wine other than ice wine then. It was a long time ago, so maybe you understand Canadian wine is nothing more than ice wine back in the day.  

I enjoy drinking good wine, like everybody does. I was lucky enough to have had many opportunities to try great wines on some tours of Canada that I was on, but still I did not know what a great wine was truly back then. 

One day I had a chance to see all the beautiful scenery in BC at a destination seminar and learned about Osoyoos. I was familiar with the name Osoyoos since my favourite English teacher kept telling us how beautiful it was. The presentation was talking mainly about Nk'Mip creek. I was so attracted by the beauty of the winery and golf course at the resort that I made a mental note and put it on my bucket list to go there one day. (spoiler alert! Not yet happened!) I started to study Canadian wines more, but it was still from the Tourism industry point of view, not the wine industry one. 

Around that time, I found a (one and only) Canadian Wine only store in Japan. I don’t even remember how I found it. I visited there and asked questions and begged to stay at their store to learn more. The owner was really nice and let me stay and she taught me about wines and told me about WSET. I was like, “whaaaaaaat!?” You mean I don’t have to be a sommelier to learn all about wine!?

So, I started WSET in Japan. There were only two options in Japan for me location wise back then. It was a 3-month course and I passed Level 2 and started Level 3 when I knew I could not finish it because I decided to move to Canada, but I did not want to waste what I had already completed. I wanted to keep it going.

After I moved to Canada as a business school student, I did not have money to spend on the WSET course but was dreaming of one day getting a wine related job. So, I kept drinking wine, but it was so hard to keep up my wine knowledge. I needed to study again to get back a little confidence after I started to work at the store, Everything Wine, but here I am. With great support from the managers (seriously!) at my store, I work as a BC wine buyer and am having a blast! I get to learn about and try lots of BC wines! I get to talk about them and know how they are all connected economically, environmentally, and even politically. Through everybody’s incredible efforts in the BC wine industry, it is growing a lot. There’re many more wineries compared to even just a few years back. I’m enjoying learning many aspects of this beautiful province and the fantastic wines produced here.

My favourite BC wine is Desert Hills Gamay

B.C. wineries need us to drink their wines to offset losses of wildfire season

There isn’t a corner of this province unaffected by this summer’s wildfires, but as bad as the air quality has been in Metro Vancouver, the interior of B.C. has had it far worse, and our wine growing regions (Okanagan, Similkameen) have been hit especially hard. While I haven’t heard news of any vineyards burning, the smoke has been acute enough to keep wine lovers away, and I’ve heard estimates from friends up there that business is down as much as 80% in some wineries.

It looks like we coasties will get at least a temporary reprieve from the smoke this weekend, but that’s only because maritime winds are pushing it back into the interior, and although I hear you can now see the other side of the lake from Naramata, the upcoming Labour Day weekend – usually a key wine holiday – may end up a wash this year. Remember when Alberta was going to ban BC wine and all of us were going to band together and drink up the slack? This is more dire. The BC wine industry needs our help: if we’re not gonna go drink it up there, we in Metro Van gotta drink it down here.

With that in mind, I’d like to recommend a few faves; wines to drink over the next couple of weeks while we wait for cooler (and wetter) skies to prevail.

Kettle Valley Gewurztraminer 2016, Naramata. Pretty pretty pretty, then kapow. A generous, ornate nose of lychee and honeyed flowers precede a 2-plane-seat body and a gingery finish with a whiff of glorious booze. Alsace is clearly the inspiration but this is lighter on its feet and cleaner, the hedonism is all on the front end. This wine hopes you order spring rolls. $20.49 +tax

Desert Hills Gamay 2017, Black Sage Bench. A spicy firecracker of red fruit and insolence. Wee snaps of vanilla and ash surround the nose, but the fruit is the story here and the fruit came to party. Black pepper on the finish, paired with enough acidity to balance the weight but not enough to make the cool kids sit at your table. Will barbeque the chicken for you. $29.99 +tax

Black Hills Tempranillo 2016, Black Sage Bench. It may come as a surprise to many, but the cult winery Black Hills does, in fact, make wines that aren’t Nota Bene. Tempranillo isn’t widely planted outside of Spain and almost never planted in B.C., which is a shame because this fab: a bright, ultra-present body of cherries and red apple, interwoven with a nose of roses, cinnamon and fine black pepper. A long hot finish and fine tannins – made for espelette-rubbed pork or chicken. $56.99 +tax. Be sure to stop by our South Vancouver location on Saturday, September 1st at 3pm to taste this BC gem!